Diamond Princess 

Diamond Princess 

Location: Southeast Asia17 Apr

Diamond Princess

Come back new “[shining] bright like a diamond” after vacationing on the Diamond Princess. I recently came back from a 7-day cruise to Southeast Asia with my mom. We had the best time, and I’m so happy that we chose Princess.

Cruises are not only a great way to bring friends and loved ones together but also a great way to meet new people from all over the world. However, we never dreamed of meeting someone from my mom’s hometown during dinner at the table next to ours! We had the pleasure of meeting and dining next to Margaret and Alan every night thanks to the Maître D who sat us at a table for two next to theirs. My mom is from Scotland and grew up in a small town called Grangemouth, which is located between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It just so happens that Margaret moved to my mom’s hometown a few years before my mom moved to the US when she was a teenager. My mom never knew Margaret while she lived in Grangemouth. Coincidentally, Margaret became really good friends with one of my mom’s childhood friends, Louise, who lived a block away from my mom. Isn’t that wild?!? We enjoyed hearing all about some of the awesome places Margaret and Alan have traveled to over the years.

Formal Night on the Diamond Princess

During one of the formal nights on the ship, Margaret and Alan accompanied us to the Italian restaurant, Sabatini’s.

afternoon tea

On our last at sea day, we had afternoon tea with Margaret and Alan and later went to a show and had dinner with them before parting ways the next day.

Princess Cruise: Thailand & Vietnam (7 Days):

 

Singapore

Outfit Details: Show Me Your Mumu top slip (old), similar here in a different print // Converse // Kendra Scott gold bangles

This 7-day cruise started and ended in Singapore. We visited ports such as Ko Samui (Thailand), Laem Chabang (port city for Bangkok, Thailand), and Phu My (port city for Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). We had three at sea days, which were much needed after having busy shore excursions. See my post on Koh Samui, Thailand here.

Amenities:

 

Decks:

Princess Cruise to Southeast Asia

Outfit Details: blush dress // Tory Burch brown wedges (old), similar here // Tory Burch brown tote bag // Kendra Scott white stud earrings // Kendra Scott gold cuff bracelet // Kendra Scott blush cuff bracelet // Kendra Scott white cuff bracelet // Kendra Scott white drusy ring // Prada sunglasses

The Diamond Princess was equipped like all large cruise ships with an Atrium filled with shops and galleries in the lower levels, while the upper decks had sports courts, pools, relaxation areas like The Sanctuary (for an additional charge), spas, bars, a track, and more.

Spas/Pools:

Princess Cruise adult pool

The Diamond Princess is the largest cruise ship I’ve ever been on. Of course, this ship had certain features and amenities that made it stand out from other Princess ships as well.  It was nice to watch the sail aways from each port from the adult only pool area at the aft (aka back) of the ship.

One of our favorite features was the Japanese spa called Izumi, which had amazing hot baths and therapeutic showers. This spa was an additional $15 per person for a two-hour use, but completely worth it. Plus, there were even cabanas in the outside area.

The main spa on the ship is the Lotus Spa which had saunas, massage treatments, a hair salon, an indoor pool area (free of charge), a gym (free of charge), and a nail salon. I got my nails done at the Lotus Spa and had a great time talking to my manicurist who was from Japan. The manicurist was so happy when I told her that Japan is my favorite country in the world.  Plus, she did a great job because my shellac mani lasted 14 days!

Diamond Princess Calypso Pool

The main outdoor pool area was on Lido, Deck 14, which even had an outdoor movie theater screen. We liked going to this pool while a band or DJ was playing while we tanned.

Theater:

Princess Theater

Since we had 3 different time changes during our trip, staying up past 10:30 PM was difficult because we were on Japan time (where it was 12:30 AM).  I’m proud to say that we made it to our first cruise show in years. A huge accomplishment considering we were up at 4 AM every morning. Best show I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. The singing blew me away especially with Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to Say Goodbye.” The show featured singers, dancers, and even a traveling double soprano singer, who was amazing.

Bars:

Southeast Asia Princess Cruise

I just love Don Julio Tequila. One of my go-to drinks is a Don Julio Margarita. The bartenders kept referring to me as the Don Julio girl lol.

Room:

 

Princess cruises room service

Outfit Details: Lilly Pulitzer robe // Kendra Scott gold stud earrings // Kendra Scott white cuff bracelet //Kendra Scott white drusy ring

Our room was perfect for two people. We had a balcony, a King size bed, a desk, a sitting area, and a huge closet. Our room was close to mid-ship on Lido, deck 14, and was a quick walk to the pool and cafeteria. We couldn’t have asked for a better deck or location.

Lilly Pulitzer robe
princess cruise closet

I was so happy that there was a huge closet that was big enough for both of our clothes since we overpacked.

topshop off the shoulder dress

Outfit Details: Topshop olive off the shoulder dress (old), other cute off the shoulder dress from Topshop here // Kendra Scott gold stud earrings // Ray-Ban sunglasses

We came back to the greatest surprise of chocolate covered strawberries in our room one day. Thank you, Princess Cruises for the sweet treat. They were so delicious!

champs drink champs

Outfit Details: black lace dress (sold out), similar here // Christian Louboutin black pumps // Chanel vintage crossbody bag // Kendra Scott brown necklace //Kendra Scott gold stud earrings // Kendra Scott white cuff bracelet //Kendra Scott white drusy ring

Start each day with a smile and finish it with champagne. We kicked off one of our formal nights with champagne on our balcony before heading to dinner in the Savoy Dining Room.

seas the day

Food:

 

Room Service:

Princess Cruises room service

We had room service for breakfast one morning because we were tired from a busy day in Bangkok the day before. The breakfast menu has your typical continental fare along with a hot item like an egg McMuffin. We ordered an egg McMuffin, a danish pastry, and coffee each, which hit the spot. We ate our breakfast in bed and read the Princess Patter for events and announcements for the day.

Horizon Court Cafeteria:

Salad & Margarita

The food in the Horizon Court cafeteria was really good. I loved making my own salad for lunch with fresh vegetables and roast beef. Hey, this healthy salad cancels out the Don Julio margarita, right?!? Lol.

cheesecake

The desserts in the cafeteria were heavenly as well. How cute is this cheesecake with mice on it?!?

The Savoy Dining Room:

Princess Cruises boasts many food awards for all their ships. I was impressed when I found out that all main dining rooms on board a Princess ship are part of the elite gourmet dining group called the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, which all of the top restaurants in the world belong to. The food was absolutely delectable.

crab cocktail

Some of my favorite dishes were the crab cocktail with melon as a starter, the Hainanese chicken and rice entrée (Singapore’s native dish), and the apple pie with ice cream for dessert.

Hainanese Chicken & Rice
Apple Pie

Sabatini’s:

Sabatini’s is one of the three Diamond Princess restaurants that you can dine at for an extra charge. My mom and I love Italian food, so we were so excited to try Sabatini’s with our Scottish friends, Alan and Margaret. The food was really good. I highly recommend making a reservation at Sabatini’s on the Diamond Princess. The seafood was fresh and cooked to perfection. Plus, I can even say that I’ve had lobster three different ways in one dish, which was absolutely amazing.

Sabatini's
Sabatini's

We snacked on some prosciutto and olives with a nice glass of Oberon wine.

Sabatini's

I love seafood, so I couldn’t wait to try the Spaghetti allo Scoglio on the menu, which is langostino, diver scallops, tiger shrimp, vongole and black mussels in a cherry tomato sauce. I substituted the spaghetti for my favorite type of pasta, penne.

Sabatini's Lobster three ways

For my entree, I ordered the Lobster, which was served three different ways: lobster tail, lobster orzotto, and lobster bisque. It was delicious.

Swirls Ice Cream:

show me your mumu tank and shorts

Outfit Details: Show Me Your Mumu beige crop top // Show Me Your Mumu floral shorts // Jack Rogers gold sandals //Kendra Scott white stud earrings // Ray-Ban sunglasses

It was crazy hot in Southeast Asia, so it was nice getting an ice cream to cool off.

Excursions:

 

Laem Chabang (Bangkok, Thailand):

Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand
Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Outfit Details: Show Me Your Mumu black maxi dress // black cardigan // Tory Burch brown tote bag // Kendra Scott gold stud earrings // Kendra Scott gold cuff bracelet // Kendra Scott white cuff bracelet //Kendra Scott white drusy ring // Ray-Ban sunglasses

Since Bangkok was two and half hours away from Laem Chabang, we thought it would be best to do an excursion through Princess. We selected the “Best of Bangkok” tour, which included stops at the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew, a canal tour with views of Wat Arun (aka  Temple of the Dawn), an international buffet lunch at a 5 star hotel, Wat Traimit (aka the Temple of the Golden Buddha), and shopping at the largest jewelry store in the world, Gem’s Gallery.

I thought Atlanta was hot! Boy, was I wrong– 94 degrees with 90% humidity was no joke. I made the mistake of wearing all black when I was in Bangkok. Coincidentally, I blended in with all of the Thai people who were wearing black to pay their respects to their King who died.

One of our first stops on our excursion was to the Grand Palace. I loved all of the gold accents, tile, and Buddhist art that filled the complex so much that I wish I could live there. It was so beautiful.

Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Please send all future postcards and invitations to our new address: Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand.

canal cruise in bangkok

After visiting the Grand Palace and seeing the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew, we took a cruise down the klongs (canals) where we were able to see Bangkok by water. We found out that Bangkok is known as the Venice of the East because of its canals. We were so happy to have a cold towel and a bottle of water to drink during the tour. My mom and I did something weird in every country that we visited… for Thailand, that was feeding huge fish. It was literally survival of the fittest. I couldn’t believe the fish were eating huge chunks of bread.

Canal cruise in bangkok
Temple of the Dawn

I was so happy that we were able to see Wat Arun (aka  Temple of the Dawn) from the water. I wish we had more than 8 hours in Bankok, so we could have gone inside.

We had a nice international buffet at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. The food was really good, but I wish there were more Thai options.

Temple of the Golden Buddha

Our next stop after lunch was visiting Wat Traimit (aka the Temple of the Golden Buddha).

Temple of the Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha inside the temple is made of 18k gold and weighs 5.5 tons. It was truly spectacular to see in person. Before heading back to the port we stopped at the Gem’s Gallery, known as the largest jewelry store in the world.

Phu My (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam):

Mekong River Delta

Since Ho Chi Minh City is an hour and a half away from the port city of Phu My, we decided it would be best to do an excursion through Princess. We saw a lot of cool views of the Mekong Delta during our bus ride to and from Ho Chi Minh.

We selected the “Best of Ho Chi Minh City” tour which included stops to a lacquerware factory, Museum of Vietnamese History,  several quick stops at famous landmarks and famous squares, Saigon Central Post OfficeSaigon Notre Dame Cathedral, and shopping.

lacquerware

Our first stop was to Minh Phuong to see how lacquerware was made. In Vietnam, they use duck shells in the design of the lacquerware items. It was really cool that we were able to observe some of the artists making the items before we walked around the gallery.

blue lace dress

Outfit Details: light blue lace dress // Tory Burch brown sandals //Tory Burch brown tote bag // Kendra Scott white earrings // Kendra Scott white delicate bracelet // Kendra Scott blush cuff bracelet // Kendra Scott white cuff bracelet //Kendra Scott white drusy ring

Have you ever seen so many scooters in your life?!? My mom and I almost got killed walking across the street because red lights are only a “suggestion” even if a pedestrian has a walkman. We decided to cross the street with locals after that.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

After the lacquerware factory, we made a few stops to see some of the famous boulevard streets and a couple of landmarks before going into the Museum of Vietnamese History. This museum had a little something for everyone with clothing, statues, cannons, and artifacts dating back to the Stone Age.

Museum of Vietnamese History

The weird thing we did in Vietnam, was that we watched a water puppet show at the Museum of Vietnamese History. It was cool but a little odd.

We then had lunch at a nice hotel, but we wish we had more Vietnamese options.

Good Morning Vietnam!

After lunch, we walked through several squares and did a little shopping. I even bought a non la (Vietnamese conical hat) for $2. It was a miracle that my hat survived the flight back home.

Then, we stopped by the Saigon Central Post Office, which was as beautiful on the outside as it was on the inside.

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Our last stop before heading back to the ship was to the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. The ribbed ceiling in the church was absolutely stunning.

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Views:

 

Southeast Asia has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that I’ve ever seen.

Diamond Princess Cruise

I was lucky to capture this beautiful sunrise when we were somewhere off of the coast of Malaysia.

Southeast Asia ocean water

The water was a pretty dark blue when we were close to Malaysia.

sunset over the Mekong Delta

We sailed away to a gorgeous sunset over the Mekong River Delta.

at sea day

I saw the prettiest blue water I’ve ever seen on the way from Vietnam to Singapore.

waterway to singapore

There was so much traffic to and from Singapore. The captain mentioned that we would be sailing on the busiest waterway in the world to and from Singapore.

Service:

 

The service was absolutely outstanding. Our cabin steward was so friendly and helpful. I want to give a special shout out to guest services who went the extra mile to find my Vietnam visa so that I could staple it into my passport so I could have a stamp for Vietnam. Thank you so much for accommodating my request for my visa. It really meant the world to me. I highly recommend taking a Princess Cruise on your next vacation. We had the best time. Can’t wait to book another cruise with Princess for next year!

Cameron
srathardforlife@gmail.com
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